Q&A: New Novell CEO in all-out Linux push

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Hovsepian: We've [talked with] some large organizations with opportunities for thousands of desktops. The interest is definitely there… We're seeing really good interest, and from my vantage point, that's a good proxy for the future. We have to make sure that we are successful with these pilots… Other customers are going to wait to hear from other customers to say, hey, that was pretty good.

What would be considered a successful Linux desktop pilot?

Hovsepian: It breaks down into really two or three buckets. First one is the interoperability piece, that we drop in. The term I use is that we have equivalent experience. You want to create an assimilation from one to the other. You want to capture some of the approaches and make them better - so, interoperability at the user experience, and interoperability in the connection of what we get done in terms of connecting into the enterprise. Those pieces of interoperability will be critical.

Another part, which we've experienced internally, is the transition cost. We have to make sure we understand that the full-value innovation metric gets played out there. We have a ton of innovation at an incredible value. We have to make sure that this gets realized by the customer. So internally we have 94% of our staff running on the Novell Linux desktop.

Right now what our competitor likes to do is say there is a big transition cost coming at you [in terms of training]. I recently talked to a room full of people - some who went through training on the new desktop, and other's who didn't. I myself am not a power user. One thing we all agreed on was that there's no training [that's really necessary]. Some buttons are in different places, but it's something most people can figure out pretty quickly.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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